FORMER IRELAND MIDFIELDER Jason McAteer believes the days of footballers showing loyalty to clubs will soon be no more.
McAteer’s old club Liverpool are currently fighting tooth and nail to hold onto their talisman Luis Suarez and have so far turned down two bids from Arsenal for the wantaway Uruguayan.
However, in an interview with The Guardian, the player claims he was told last season that he would be allowed to leave if the Reds failed to qualify for the Champions League and it is believed that he intends to hand in a transfer request next week if a move is blocked.
Speaking at the launch of Carlsberg’s Ultimate Football Pub in Dublin yesterday, McAteer, who spent four seasons at Liverpool during the 90s, gave his thoughts one of the most protracted transfer sagas in recent years.
“It is disappointing,” said McAteer. “He has been banned for 18 games and was protected by the club over the Evra incident. I agree that a bit of loyalty should have been shown.
“I just think players like (Jamie) Carragher, (Steve) Gerrard and that generation will be the end of it. I’d like to think I was an extremely loyal person in business and in friends but I think it’s dying out in football.”
While Real Madrid are also believed to be monitoring the Suarez situation, the Gunners are the only club to have made their interest official. McAteer can’t see Liverpool selling their prized asset to a Premier League rival, however.
We’ll have to wait and see but I don’t see him selling him to Arsenal. I think it would be a nightmare for him.
“The Premier League is wide open this season with three top teams bringing in new managers. Liverpool certainly should be up there battling with Arsenal and Tottenham for fourth place. That’s why I don’t think they will sell to Arsenal.”
Suarez. Credit: Lynne Cameron/PA Archive/Press Association Images
If it is the case the Suarez does depart, Brendan Rodgers will need to act swiftly to bring in an adequate replacement. Back in January 2011, Liverpool splashed £35m on Andy Carroll after offloading Fernando Torres to Chelsea and will be keen not to make a similar mistake with an 11th hour gamble.
“Everyone’s getting carried away about who they’re going to get in,” added McAteer. “There’s a small market that Liverpool can go for because it’s not as if they’re a Bayern Munich or a top team that can attract Champions League centre forwards.
They all want to play in the Champions League and Liverpool aren’t going to be there. I think they’ll have their eye on a couple of players who would jump at the chance to go to Liverpool.
“They’ve missed out on (new Spurs signing Roberto) Soldado. I think he would have been a really good buy for Liverpool. There are a few in that bracket that Liverpool could get in last minute.”
Carlsberg wants to bring Irish Premier League fans closer to the action with ‘Be There Next Weekend’, a competition that will reward committed fans with amazing experiences that only Carlsberg can deliver as Official Beer of the Premier League. Throughout the season, fans can win ultimate Carlsberg experience including VIP trips to Premier League games, presenting Man of the match, and many more amazing prizes. For more check out www.facebook.com/carlsbergfootball.